COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Board of Regents of the Texas A&M University System voted unanimously Monday to name Dr. Ruth J. Simmons, a nationally recognized leader in higher education, as president of Prairie View A&M University.
Dr. Simmons, a Houston native who served as president of Brown University from 2001 to 2012, had been the interim president at Prairie View A&M University since June. Since retiring from Brown, Dr. Simmons had turned down offers to lead other institutions of higher education, but Prairie View A&M University appealed to her because of its history, significance and mission. Also, her brother attended the university.
Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp said he is pleased to see such a high-caliber scholar and gifted administrator leading the Prairie View campus.
“The Texas A&M University System and Prairie View A&M University are lucky to call Dr. Simmons president of Prairie View A&M,” Chancellor Sharp said. “With administrative experience at a top Ivy League university, a women’s university and a historically black college, Dr. Simmons brings a unique perspective to Prairie View A&M University.”
One of Dr. Simmons’ stated goals is to improve the representation of African-Americans in STEM fields.
Dr. Simmons taught French and Africana Studies at Brown. Dr. Simmons, who holds a Ph.D. in Romance Languages and literatures at Harvard, also has served in various faculty and administrative roles at the University of Southern California, Princeton University and Spelman College. Additionally, she was president of Smith College, the largest women’s college in the United States. At Smith, she launched a number of important academic initiatives, including an engineering program, the first at an American women’s college.
Simmons is the recipient of many honors, including a Fulbright Fellowship to France, the 2001 President’s Award from the United Negro College Fund, the 2002 Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal, the 2004 Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal, the Foreign Policy Association Medal, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and the Centennial Medal from Harvard University. Simmons is a member of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the Council on Foreign Relations, and serves on the boards of Texas Instruments, Chrysler, Mondelez and Square, as well as a number of non-profit boards. Awarded numerous honorary degrees, she received the Brown Faculty’s highest honor: the Susan Colver Rosenberger Medal in 2011. In 2012, she was named a ‘chevalier’ of the French Legion of Honor.
About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $4.55 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities and seven state agencies, the Texas A&M System educates more than 148,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceeded $972 million in FY 2016 and helped drive the state’s economy.
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